By Joselyn Watkins
Hidden by huge stands of field corn and other cultivated fields in Western New York State is a beautiful glacier carved lake measuring approximately three and one half acres and thirty feet deep. It is called by many different names. Some have called it “Hidden Lake”. Other names assigned to it are “Indian Pond, Devil’s Lake, Bottomless Lake, Dead Lake” and last of all “Diver’s Lake”. But our nephew and niece, who own half of the land surrounding the lake call it “Spirit Lake”.
Our nephew is captivated by the beauty of the place. He has his early morning devotional by driving to the place, rowing an old row boat out to the middle of the lake and sitting there awhile meditating before returning home to begin activities of managing an 800 acre farm.
Legend has it that many arrowheads and other tools utilized by the Indians were fashioned by many of the New York State Iroquois tribes such as the Onondaga’s, Tonawandas and Senecas from Spirit Lake’s banks of quarry flint. Notably, artifacts from this site have been found to be from archaic cultures.
Stories having to do with the lake are rich in Indian lore. Ely Parker, an Indian, who probably is one of Indian Falls, New York’s most famous citizens spent his childhood in the Spirit Lake area and was cautioned by his grandmother about the monster of Spirit lake called “Sais-tah-go-wa”. Parker became a Brigadier General and with General Grant at Appomattox wrote the final draft of the terms of surrender at the close of the Civil War.
One myth told about the lake was that a young maiden was sacrificed by her tribe in the lake to appease the lake dragon who lived just below i’s surface. At this point, the maiden’s distraught lover pushed off in a canoe into the water thinking that he might be with her by sacrificing himself to the lake beast.
Seeing this event happening, a hostile tribe of Indians coming to attack the Tonawanda Indian village tried to help the young brave by attempting to kill the lake monster. It is said that their arrows bounced off the head of the great horned serpent. Thus, the maiden and her lover sank to the bottom of the lake never to be seen again.
Most recently, while traveling and at the home of our niece and nephew in Indian Falls, New York we met a man at the same Spirit Lake by the name of Douglas Domedion, who had his own myth about the lake.
It seems that he took his lady friend to view the gorgeous area. Being impressed by its beauty, she wanted to take something of the place to remember it by and picked up three pieces of the flint from the surrounding escarpment.
Soon after visiting the lake the lady experienced several bad luck events. She shared this fact with Douglas and they joked about going back to the lake and having a tobacco burning ceremony on the beach to please the lake spirit. But before this took place, Douglas’s friend sent him a box containing the flints for his birthday. Yes, you guessed it, Douglas experienced bad luck almost immediately by locking his keys in his car. “Then later I tripped while carrying a heavy object and landed right on my face on cement” Douglas says.
He and his lady friend decided that before he went deer hunting that they should have a tobacco burning at “Spirit Lake” and they did. Both have reported that their luck has been good since that impressive ceremony.
In our trip to “Spirit Lake” in September we did not gather any flint after hearing of the aforementioned myth, see it for yourself.
aformentioned myths. No reason to test fate. It is just a beautiful place to meditate. You can see for yourself as you gaze at the photo of “Spirit Lake”.